The World Economic Forum released its Global Gender Gap Report this week and the findings are pretty interesting. The index used by the WEF for calculating gender gaps includes four main factors–economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, political empowerment, and health and survival. Overall, the United States ranked 27th, a slight improvement over the 2007 ranking (31st) but an overall decline since 2006 (23rd). Coming in ahead of the US are the usual suspects–Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Germany and some that were a little more unexpected (at least to me)–South Africa, Lesotho, Sri Lanka, Cuba.
When broken down into the subcategories, the U.S. showed huge disparities–while we ranked high in educational equality (tying for the #1 ranking with a number of other countries), we came in 37th for Health and Survival and an abysmal 56th for Political Empowerment. Keep in mind, this is not a measure of women’s empowerment, merely a measure of baseline gender equality. For the full rankings, as well as lots of charts and breakdowns of specific issues, check out the full report. Clearly the U.S. has a long way to go, but I suppose it is at least encouraging to see us inching in the right direction instead of backsliding, as was the case between the 2006 and 2007 reports. Check out the report–particularly the breakdowns of each specific category, for more in depth findings.